QUESTION: I just bought a membership to ZoomInfo.  What other sources should I use getting phone numbers and contacts of companies?

ANSWER: Hoover’s is outstanding, but it is not inexpensive.  Hoover is not as good for small companies, probably less than $100 million, but it is outstanding for companies greater than $100 million.  Again, it is a significant investment.

What I am seeing now, in the last couple of years, based on the proliferation of research is utilizing LinkedIn experts. These experts have paid subscriptions to LinkedIn Recruiter and you can hire them and they will go through their profiles and they will do the kind of research you want.  It will not only provide the data you need, but is also a great way too to liberate your time.

The LinkedIn expert will do basic name, contact information stuff, and they will do profiling.  Again, it is an acquired taste.  You do not just hit play and this stuff spits out.  When you hire somebody on one of these services, some are not good, some are okay, and some are outstanding.  You have to test a couple.

I would challenge anyone that wants to do this to hire three or four at once, give them all slightly different projects, see which ones really are starting to catch on to you.  Give them some coaching and say go out and get me another 100 or hire them for two hours and say, I want to see how much you can get done in two hours.

That investment might be $10.  So the ones that do not work out has a very small downside.  I think that is an outstanding venue to find and identify names, both on the candidate side and on the company development side.

Some of these experts also subscribe to Hoover’s and other similar resources.  In essence, you are just basically posting a job.  If you go online you can look at other researcher postings to see how people frame it.